MC Hammer isn’t the Hammer you and I grew up with. He’s now actively involved in the tech space, recently headlining a Tech Crunch Disrupt Conference even. He’s gone from on top of the world, to filing bankruptcy, to back in the limelight once again. The man is nothing if not resourceful. He currently has a mixed martial arts management company called Alchemist Management, a clothing line Alchemist Clothing, and a company he co-founded Dance Jame is now a part of Action Sports Group. I mean heck, the man is just short of 2 million followers on Twitter, so needless to say he has some influence.
But this ladies and gentlemen, is where it gets interesting. Recently, rap mogul Jay-Z spit a verse on Kanye West’s “So Appalled” G.O.O.D music leak where he said:
“And Hammer went broke so you know I’m more focused/ I lost 30 mil so I spent another 30/ Cause unlike Hammer 30 million can’t hurt me.”
It seems that Hammer was so upset that he took to the interwebs to voice his dissatisfaction. MC Hammer released a music video to YouTube titled: Better Run Run. In the video Hammer shows off he can still dance (as only Hammer could). The video shows what is to be an overweight Jay-Z running from the devil: “The devil said Imma give you the world / I’ll take it plus give me a girl / Mr. Devil can you give me a sign / He said throw the Roc up, that’s one of mine.” The MMA fighters Hammer has under his Management are seen throughout the video, perceivably his muscle, and there is a 30 second part towards the end of the video that shows Hammer in the ring during boxing practice. Jay-Z’s response? He took it the wrong way, I didn’t know that wasn’t on the table for discussion.
MC Hammer is 53, Jay-Z is 45.
Many of us remember the yesteryears of the mid-to-late 90’s and the East Coast (Tupac Shakur) vs. West Coast (Notorious BIG) hatred. It was a war of words, fists and blood that ended in the death of Tupac Shakur. Tupac and Biggie were at one time friends, but their friendship ended and it turned into an all out turf war of gang related Bloods vs. Crips both Los Angeles gangs. But leave it to technology to change the battle field. Now mind you, the jump from Tupac vs. Biggie to Jay-Z vs. MC Hammer is a LONG leap, both in importance and severity. But I use this comparison to make a point. The internet gives everyone a platform, and unfortunately that means that anyone could post something horrible to their own site for the world to see. Death, fights, sex – all have a free platform to broadcast now.
However I think the internet works both sides of that coin. The internet can also soften hatred. Imagine if Tupac and Biggie could have taken their beef to the internet (as we know it today). Maybe it becomes more of a money play than a hatred play. Do you not think MC Hammer knows exactly what he is doing here? He is attaching his name to the biggest in rap, he got to plug his clothing line, he got to plug his MMA fighters, he is atop of mind for the internet right now. We’re transitioning as consumers. We desire real-time feuds, fights, friends, followers and everything in between.
Watch the video again. Is there any mention of killing him? Excessively offensive language? Guns? Knifes? Gang signs? Gang colors? The answer is a resounding no. There’s plenty of dancing though.
MC Hammer is an extremely intelligent business man. He saw a way to get free publicity, news, fanfare and he took it. When you first saw the video you might have thought it was stupid, funny, or maybe even really cool. I would venture to guess you Liked it on Facebook, RT it on Twitter, Favorite it on YouTube, or even emailed it to a few friends. That’s the online world we live in now. Remember the Old Spice Man? Social networking gives you a platform of free marketing that if you hit on the sweet spot, traditional media and marketing are left in the dust.
Digital Marketing at it’s finest is what MC Hammer did when he responded to Jay-Z’s lyric. He just masked it in a YouTube video and appealed to your memory of “East coast vs. West coast” while dancing like how we’ve remembered Hammer. Welcome to the new age of marketing. Let’s just hope Hammer doesn’t tell us… U Can’t Touch This.